Wednesday 13: Whisky a Go Go – Hollywood, Ca – 2/7/20

The Duke of Spook Wednesday 13 released his eighth studio album Necrophaze in 2019. A tour was announced where W13 would be direct support  for the Finnish vampires, The 69 Eyes. The venue was packed to capacity as it was a sold out show. The lights went out and the venue cheered in excitement as the members of W13 made their way to the stage with W13 himself being the last one. They started the show with the self-titled opening track from the new album, Necrophaze (The album track originally features the legendary Alice Cooper). Right away, you could feel the music that gives you that shock rock feeling that their music is known for. Every song W13 plays has a different theme to it and involves lots of stage props and costumes. W13 covers himself in glow-in-the-dark paint which gives him an even crazier look. The next song is Zodiac also from the new album and naturally is about the unsolved murder cases from the 1960’s-1970’s. W13 came out wearing a burglar mask and wielding a knife to better bring the song to life. The show continued with W13 mesmerizing the audience with spooky tracks like I Want You…Dead, Scream Baby Scream, and Decompose. During Serpent Society, W13 came out in a devil outfit complete with a pitchfork as he sang his devilish lyrics. During Prey For Me, W13 wore a mask on the back of his head resembling a face. He sang with his back turned to the audience giving himself a sinister look while the mask faced the audience. He would still turn around and freak people out having two faces now. For the performance of What the Night Brings, W13 brought out a hook to give himself a serial killer look to one of their best songs. The show had to sadly come to an end as they performed Keep Watching the Skies. It’s unfortunate they had such a short set so hopefully they come back again for a longer headlining set.

 

Queensryche/John 5: House of Blues – Anaheim, Ca – 1/30/20

Progressive metal band Queensryche and John 5 announced a tour together with opening band Eve to Adam. This was a very interesting package with different genres and styles, but a little diversity never hurt anyone. The show took place at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California on a Thursday of all days. Even then, the venue was nicely packed for a big show like this. Eve to Adam served as a nice warm up for the show and made way for the main bands of the tour.
John 5 is best known for being the guitarist for Rob Zombie and was also a longtime guitarist for Marilyn Manson. When he’s not touring with Rob Zombie, John 5 focuses on his solo albums. He has released nine solo albums with the most recent one being Invasion released in 2019. All of John 5‘s albums are instrumental and have no vocals so he lets his guitar work do all the talking. With the release of his newest album, John 5 was once again ready to set out on the road in support of his most recent release. John 5 had the stage setup with a screen showing classic horror/monster movie segments playing backwards and blow up carnival entrances. John 5‘s bandmates made their way to the stage with John 5 being the last one to come out and immediately started the show with a track from his newest album titled Crank It – Living With Ghosts. Right away, you’re blown away by John 5‘s guitar playing and shreds away to perfection. The next songs were Six Hundred and Sixty Six Pickers In Hell followed by Zoinks!. It seems no matter what song John 5 played, it sounded just as good live as it does on the albums. Aside from being an instrumental show, John 5 also adds props to his shows to give it that theatrical feel. The props included a stage crew member wearing a silver suit with a robot John 5 head and another one coming out with a different giant John 5 head. Other songs included during the show were Season of the Witch, Howdy, I Am John 5, and The Black Grass Plague. John 5 is no stranger to the guitar and so naturally, had a variety of guitars to show off. Some of those guitars were a guitar with green goo on the inside, a miniature guitar, a banjo, and a guitar that lights up. John 5 continued his show with a medley of cover songs which included The Beautiful People (Marilyn Manson), Spoonman (Soundgarden), and Thunder Kiss ’65 (White Zombie). Ending the show was Ddd and then a segment of The Star Spangled Banner that John 5 played. Using his teeth on his guitar strings. John 5 is a great performer live and an even more underrated guitarist and should be seen by any musicians and metalheads alike.
Queensryche is a progressive heavy metal band that has been around since the 1980’s. Since then, they have released fifteen studio albums with the newest one The Verdict released in 2019. Queensryche have been touring non-stop since their formation and have delivered many classic albums and songs to rock and metal fanatics. The lights went out and the packed venue cheered as the track Launder the Conscience from the new album played over the speakers. The members of Queensryche came out and started their show with Prophecy. Fans were ecstatic to have Queensryche return for a headlining tour. The next song was Operation: Mindcrime followed by Walk in the ShadowsQueensryche have been enjoying success with their current singer Todd La Torre since 2012. Before then, Queensryche was fronted by Geoff Tate who had an infamous altercation with the band which resulted in his termination. Queensryche has now released three albums with La Torre and show no signs of slowing down. The show continued as Queensryche played classics like Take Hold of the Flame, No Sanctuary, and Breaking the Silence. Nearing the end of the show, Queensryche played their most popular hits starting with the beautiful Silent Lucidity that had the fans turning on their cell phone flashlights and singing along. The next song was the hit Jet City Woman that also had the audience singing along and then the show came to an end with another one of their most popular hits Queen of the Reich. The band left the stage and all seemed quiet. After a brief break, Queensryche came back out for some encores. The encores were Light-Years, Empire, and once again finished with Eyes of a Stranger from their 1988 critically-acclaimed concept album, Operation: Mindcrime. Queensryche thanked the audience for coming out and then left the stage. It was a great night overall and all the bands put on a memorable performance.

 

Queensryche

 

John 5

Metal Allegiance: House of Blues – Anaheim, Ca – 1/16/20

What better way to kick off NAMM weekend than with the annual Metal Allegiance at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California. They currently have two albums out, Metal Allegiance (2015) and Volume II: Power Drunk Majesty (2018). The Metal Allegiance involves many talented musicians from various bands that come together to form supergroups. The group includes: Gary Holt (ex-Slayer, Exodus), Andreas Kisser (Sepultura), Alex Skolnick (Testament), Chuck Billy (Testament), John Bush (Armored Saint), Mark Osegueda (Death Angel), Troy Sanders (Mastodon), David Davidson (Revocation), Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy), Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater), Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer, Misfits, Suicidal Tendencies), Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth (Overkill), Jason Bittner (ex-Shadows Fall, Overkill), Jack Gibson (Exodus), and Mark Menghi (founder). With so much talent on one stage, things were bound to get wild. The opening acts for the show were Trauma, Weapons of Anew, and Exmortus. The venue was nicely packed with metalheads hungry for some shredding and head banging.
Exmortus released their fifth studio album The Sound of Steel in 2018 and released their newest EP Legions of the Undead in 2019. Exmortus came out and were cheered on as they started with Slave to the Sword. Exmortus is just what the crowd needed; face-melting guitars and ear-pounding drums. The next track was Foe Hammer followed by a brand new track from their latest EP, Swallow Your Soul. It’s no secret that Exmortus takes inspiration from classical music and so what better way to show their inspirations than by doing a cover of one of the most famous pieces, a metal rendition of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata (Act 3). Being that they were the opening act, Exmortus had a very short set. Ending the show would be a metal cover of Foreplay by classic rock band Boston which turns into their usual ending song, Metal Is King. The mosh stayed wild the whole time and it’s amazing seeing a band like Exmortus carry the torch in the name of metal.
The Metal Allegiance was next and the crowd was more than ready for all the mayhem that was about to ensue. Out first came out the host for the night which was WWE Superstar Erick Rowan. After a quick introduction, Rowan left and made room for the first group of Metal Allegiance and started their show with The Accuser from their latest album. Seeing all those talented musicians on stage was a thing of beauty and it was only matched by the non-stop mosh pit in the middle of the floor. Metal Allegiance next played Bound By Silence followed by Can’t Kill the Devil. The fourth song was a Metallica cover of Leper Messiah. The first group of musicians were finished and made room for some new members. Metal Allegiance started to perform covers which is what their performances are known for. Those covers included Exciter (Judas Priest), Toxic Waltz (Exodus), Refuse/Resist (Sepultura), Only (Anthrax), and Lights Out (UFO). One of the highlights of the event was when legendary metal drummer Dave Lombardo came out to perform some Slayer covers. The first cover was Postmortem. Things were sped up after when Metal Allegiance performed Raining Blood and ended the Slayer covers with Angel of Death. Osegueda took a small break to talk about the passing of Rush drummer Neil Peart whose death impacted musicians all over the world. As a tribute to one of the most respected and greatest drummers of all time, all the members of Metal Allegiance came out and played a cover of Tom Sawyer. Nearing the end of the show, all the members of Metal Allegiance stayed on stage for the last couple of songs. The last two songs were Running Free (Iron Maiden) and Overkill (Motörhead ). It was an amazing sight seeing all those talented musicians sharing the stage, something you’ll only see at Metal Allegiance. An event like this only happens once a year so if you’re ever in the area, be sure to check it out!

 

Metal Allegiance

 

Exmortus

Mac Sabbath: The Echoplex – Los Angeles, Ca – 1/18/20

Drive-Thru metal band Mac Sabbath is perhaps one of the strangest bands to ever exist. They come from the far away land of Birminghamburger, Englad (currently based in Los Angeles). Mac Sabbath perform the music of heavy metal godfathers Black Sabbath, but change the lyrics to match that of fast food products. Black Sabbath fans can easily determine the original Black Sabbath song names based on the Mac Sabbath titles. The curtains lifted and revealed on stage the members of Mac Sabbath which were Grimalice (bass), Slayer MacCheeze (guitar), The Catburglar (drums), and coming out last in a straitjacket, Ronald Osbourne (vocals). Mac Sabbath began their greasy performance with Organic Funeral (Electric Funeral) and right away you could feel the two themes coming together like the perfect burger. Mac Sabbath brought out plenty of toys to play with as Osbourne acted like a clown and really had tricks up his sleeve. One of his tricks involved eating a burger patty prior to the performance of Sweet Beef (Sweet Leaf) and vomiting inside of a bucket. He would pretend like he was going to chuck the vomit onto the audience and when he finally did, out came…confetti. Other tricks including spraying the audience with water from ketchup and mustard bottles, and party snakes coming out of bottles. At one point, Osbourne somehow took out a really long straw from his under garments and had his fast food employee chug a beer down one end of the straw as Osbourne drank from the other. Osbourne also had plenty of jokes to tell has he talked about touring with other bands including Dokken Donuts (Dokken), KFCDC (AC/DC), Twisted Sizzler (Twisted Sister), and of course, he had nothing nice to say about Burger King Diamond (King Diamond). Other songs performed on this outrages show were: Grilled My Pet (MotorheadKilled By Death), Love Buns (KISSLove Gun), The Lizard (The Wizard), GMO Blind (Snowblind), and Chicken For the Slaves (Children of the Grave). One of the weirder parts of the show was when Osbourne introduced his employee of the month and then grabbed a light and proceeded to lip sync to In Dreams (Roy Orbison) while seemingly serenading all the women up front. During the performance of Frying Pan, Osbourne brought out a frying pan and set it on fire as he prepared to cook his next meal. He brought out a bat and was going to recreate one of the most infamous incidents in metal as he put the bat between the burger buns and bit the head off. Mac Sabbath finished the show and left the stage. The audience wasn’t ready to go home yet and stayed behind. After a little while, Mac Sabbath came out to perform Pair-A-Buns (Paranoid). This is the song where Osbourne lays down on the crowd and proceeds to clown surf all around the audience. Mac Sabbath finished up their show with the traditional McDonald’s theme end by saying, “I’m Lovin’ It!”, bowed to the audience, then left the stage. Seeing Mac Sabbath, you won’t know what to feel. You’ll be enjoying yourself, but also asking yourself, what the heck am I watching!? Either way, they make for some fast food entertainment and should be seen by metalheads alike!

 

Pennywise: Ventura Theater – Ventura, Ca – 1/11/20

Punk rock legends Pennywise announced a West Coast tour with fellow punk rock legends, The Adolescents. Pennywise got their name after the evil clown from from the Stephen King novel, It. In 2018, they released their twelfth studio album, Never Gonna Die. One of the stops on the tour was the Ventura Theatre in Ventura, California and naturally, it sold out ahead of time. Pennywise was also celebrating the 30th anniversary of their 1999 fifth album, Straight Ahead and would be playing several songs from that album as part of the celebration. A Saturday night filled with punk was the way to go for Ventura County.
Pennywise came out and started their show with Every Single Day. With classic punk rock music playing, the floor came alive with a mosh pit. The next song was a song from their 1991 self-titled debut album titled, Rules. With a classic being played, the crowd went just as nuts. Pennywise once again made note on how they were celebrating thirty years of their album Straight Ahead and started to play songs from that album. The third song was Straight Ahead and Pennywise kept the energy going. Pennywise knows how to get their crowds moving with fast punk and politically-themed songs. Lots of moshing, shoving and even crowd surfers are seen at their shows. Pennywise played many of their hits including: My Own Country, Fight Till You Die and Same Old Story. In light of recent news of the legendary drummer Neil Peart passing away, Pennywise paid tribute to the Rush drummer by dedicating the song You’ll Never Make It to him. Nearing the end of their show, Pennywise brought out the big hits to drive the crowd extra wild. Starting with their self-titled song Pennywise which is about the evil clown from the Stephen King novel, It. Next was Society followed by Fuck Authority. All these songs have the crowd singing along and the moshing never stopped or slowed down. To end the show, Pennywise played their most famous song and one of punk rock’s anthems, Bro Hymn. This song had everyone in the audience singing along and the circle pit seemed to only get faster. To add to the show, the friends and family of the band who had been watching from the side came on stage to party with the band and sing along to the song’s catchy chorus. Pennywise wrapped up their show, thanked the audience for coming out, then left. They never have a dull moment in their live performances and fans of punk and metal should see this legendary band.

 

Epica: The Regent – Los Angeles – 1/5/20

Dutch symphonic metal band Epica announced a four-date North American tour with two of them being exclusive USA shows. The tour was the 10th anniversary of their landmark fourth album, Design Your Universe. On this special tour Epica would be performing most songs from the album, some of which haven’t been played in years. The first stop on the tour was in New York which sold out so it was no surprise to see the Regent in Los Angeles was sold out too. Plenty of fans drove from out of state for this special show. The opening acts for the show were Valkyrium and Nekrogoblikon. By the time Epica was ready to take the stage, the venue was packed to max capacity.
The lights went out and the packed venue cheered in excitement as the intro track Samadhi played over the speakers. The band members came out one by one as they started with the first track from DYU, Resign to Surrender. Founding guitarist/singer Mark Jansen starts the song with his harsh growls before the beautiful Simone Simons jumped in with her angelic mezzo soprano/classical voice and the band was in full effect. Epica has a beautiful symphonic metal sound that is relaxing to listen to. The next song was the song Unleashed which easily one of their best songs and fun to sing along to. Two more songs from DYU were played which were Martyr of the Free Word and Our Destiny. It’s not unusual for Epica to play long songs and the next track Kingdom of Heaven is one of their best songs and a fan-favorite at thirteen and a half minutes long. While there was no moshing or shoving at the show, you don’t need it at an Epica show as their music does all the talking. One of the highlights of the night was when the track Tides of Time was played. It is no doubt one of Epica‘s most beautiful songs. Simons sings most of the song on her own and it’s one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever hear. It was a true gem in the setlist. Up next was another one of their classic songs, The Obsessive Devotion. It was one of their more heavier songs with horns being raised and lots of head banging from fans. Nearing the end of the show, it was time for Epica to bring out the big guns. Up next was another one of their best songs, Cry For the Moon. This song clocks in at almost seven minutes, but it’s a great seven minutes. Another great song to sing along to. To end the show, Epica played the title track Design Your Universe. This song clocks in at nine and a half minutes, but is also a regular song on their setlist as well as a fan favorite. Epica left the stage and all seemed quiet. Fans stayed, cheered, and chanted, “Epica! Epica! Epica!” After a brief break, guitarist Isaac Delahaye came back out to thank the audience then let the audience know that they had no more songs from DYU left to play because they were too lazy to learn more. Instead, they would treat the fans to other songs instead. The fans cheered as the rest of the band came back out. The first encore was Sancta Terra followed by Beyond the Matrix. Before playing the final song, Simons made note that two days after this show, they would be playing the 70,000 tons of metal cruise. For the show’s grand finale, Epica performed Consign to Oblivion. Simons announced that it was time for a wall of death and so the middle of the floor parted ways so there was a big gap. Jansen played the intro of the song and had the audience hold the wall until his countdown. On his count to three, fans crashed into each other for a classic wall of death and continued to perform a circle pit for the duration of the almost ten minute song. The whole performance was beautiful from start to finish and it’s highly encouraged to see Epica live even if you’re not a fan of symphonic metal. They never disappoint!

 

Metalachi: The Canyon – Montclair, Ca – 12/21/19

If you still haven’t heard about them, Metalachi are the world’s first and only heavy metal mariachi band. They perform rock and metal covers using mariachi instruments. Their stage outfits take on similar appearances from other bands like GWAR, KISS, and Rob Zombie, but with a Mexican twist. They have been rising in popularity within the last few years making appearances on America’s Got Talent and being praised by some of the biggest bands around. This was the last show of the year for Metalachi and it would be an emotional one as the last two remaining original members Vega De La Rockha (vocals) and El Cucuy (trumpet) would be leaving the band after ten years. The show would take place at the Canyon Club in Montclair, California. As the show prepared to begin, you’ll notice how the band’s mic stand were covered by women’s bras from previous shows. Part of their shenanigans they do on stage.
The lights went out and the packed venue cheered as Metalachi came on stage and started with a cover of the traditional Mexican song Guadalajara, but changed to Metalachi. The song transitioned into Rainbow in the Dark (Dio) and the show was underway. Right Away, you could see how Metalachi uses their instruments to mimic the original song to perfection to make that mariachi sound and still keeping the original feeling of the song. Metalachi is one of the most fun acts you’ll see and it’s only proven as they play songs like Santeria (Sublime), Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen), Rock You Like a Hurricane (Scorpions), and Rock and Roll All Nite (KISS). One of the highlights of the show is when Metalachi brings a woman from the audience on stage to give her a special lap dance while performing Every Rose Has Its Thorn (Poison). First from Vega, then from violinist Kyla Vera. She would then be serenaded by El Cucuy as he sang a short Vicente Fernandez song who is one of the most famous Mexican artists of all time. Aside from the music, Metalachi is also known to be very comical and often joke with each other for added showmanship. One of those acts is when El Cucuy and Vega refer to the first few rows of the show as the “splash zone” due to the possibility of the women (and men, apparently) getting pregnant from their sexual innuendos. Metalachi made a nod to their heavy metal fans in the audience and played a medley of Metallica covers that consisted of One and Enter Sandman. Metalachi ended their show, then left the stage. The audience was having too much fun and didn’t want to call it a night just yet. After a small break, Metalachi came back out. Vega let the audience know that this is the last show with him and El Cucuy in the band and thanked everyone for all the year of support, memories, and of course the chichis. To end the show, Metalachi played Crazy Train (Ozzy Osbourne) followed by Feliz Navidad (José Feliciano). It was a very emotional night for the band and audience who had been following Metalachi for a long time, but it was still a good time and all the band members gave it their all for this special show. Only time will tell how Metalachi performs with new members.

 

Death Angel/Exmortus: Whisky a Go Go – Hollywood, Ca – 12/19/19

   

     Grammy-nominated San Francisco Bay Area thrashers Death Angel and Los Angeles thrashers Exmortus announced a tour together that’s meant for metalheads from different generations. Death Angel was still on tour promoting their ninth studio album Humanicide released on May 31, 2019. Exmortus was also still on tour promoting not only their fifth studio album The Sound of Steel (2018), but also their brand new EP Legions of the Undead released on October 25th, 2019. The EP contains two brand new tracks as well as shredding renditions of the Beetlejuice and Psycho themes. Support on tour would come from Hellfire. The final stop on the tour was the world-famous Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood, California. It was a packed show with metalheads ready to let loose!
The lights went out and thrashers Exmortus and started with the first track from their latest album, Make Haste. It wasn’t long before a mosh pit formed as Exmortus shred away at their fast music. The next song played was one of their best songs, Slave to the Sword. The metal scene was alive and well in Hollywood even on a Thursday. Exmortus finally gave the audience a taste of the new EP and played the new tracks Legions of the Undead and Swallow Your Soul. One of the best songs performed was a cover of Beethoven‘s Moonlight Sonata (Act 3). A beautiful metal rendition of a timeless classical piece. To end the show, Exmortus first played Foreplay by classic rock band Boston, then transitioned into Metal Is King. Exmortus finished up their show, then left the stage for the headlining act of the night.
The venue was tightly packed and possibly sold out. The show started a little bit late due to a technical difficulty, but was eventually fixed. The crowd cheered as the members of Death Angel came out and started with Humanicide, the opening track from the new album. Once again, the floor came alive with a mosh pit and with shoving everywhere. Up next was the classic Voracious Souls from their 1987 debut album, The Ultra-Violence. A classic like this also makes the mosh pits go wild. There’s never a dull moment with Death Angel as they played a mix of classic and new material. Some of those tracks included: The Dream Calls For Blood, The Moth, Mistress of Pain, and Stop. Singer Mark Osegueda took a small break to tell the audience how just a couple of weeks ago, Death Angel was nominated for the first time ever for best metal performance for the song Humanicide for the 62nd annual Grammy Awards. He talked about how shook he was as he called his family to let them know about the band’s accomplishment. Osegueda, as well as the rest of the band, were very proud of their accomplishment and thanked the audience for all their support and dedicated the next song The Pack to the fans because all together, we were a pack. Death Angel last played Castor of Shame, then left the stage. All seemed calm, but the audience wasn’t ready to go home just yet. The audience chanted Death Angel‘s name and after a small break, came back out. To further celebrate the occasion, it was guitarist Ted Aguilar’s birthday! A cake was brought out to celebrate. The first encore was Mistress of Pain from their debut album. Death Angel wrapped up their show with the beginning of their ten-minute instrumental track The Ultra-Violence which then transitioned into the ending track, Thrown to the Wolves. The whole show was entertaining from start to finish and no doubt metal is here to stay.

 

Death Angel

 

Exmortus

Cattle Decapitation/Atheist: The Regent – Los Angeles, Ca – 12/12/19

Metal badasses Cattle Decapitation released their eighth studio album Death Atlas on November 29, 2019 to positive reviews. They wasted no time in announcing a tour in support of the album and what a package it was. Despite their intimidating name, Cattle Decapitation‘s songs protest the mistreatment and consumption of animals. They also cover subjects like the abuse of the environment, misanthropy, and the genocide of the human race. The band’s original lineup consisted of all vegetarians, but now only singer Travis Ryan and guitarist Josh Elmore remain. Throughout their career, Cattle Decapitation have proven themselves to also be some of the nicest guys around. One such incident was in 2018 when two Native American brothers were pulled from a Colorado State University tour by the police for being “too quiet” and wearing “dark clothing”. The band found out that one of the brother’s was wearing a Cattle Decapitation shirt and so offered them free guest list spots for life. This show would be declared as the Decibel Magazine Pre-party. Joining Cattle Decapitation on tour was Atheist, Primitive Man, Author & Punisher, and Vitriol.
The venue was nicely packed as progressive Atheist prepared to take the stage. This show was special for Atheist because it was their first show in Los Angeles in twelve years. Since the band’s founding in 1984,  vocalist Kelly Schaefer remains the only original member. For many fans in the audience, it was their first time seeing Atheist. The lights went out and Atheist made their way to the stage and started their show with On They Slay. Atheist showed their fast and technical playing which drove the audience wild and started moshing. Atheist was truly an energetic band and it was only proven over and over as they played many of their classics including Unholy War, Unquestionable Presence, Your Life’s Retribution, and I Deny. With a limited set time, Atheist made good use of it to make sure fans were enjoying themselves and they weren’t bored. To end their show, Atheist played their popular hit Piece of Time then left the stage making room for the headlining band of the night.
Cattle Decapitation were part of this year’s Summer Slaughter tour and are touring the USA again, but this time on their own headlining tour. Many Cattle Decapitation fans were in attendance as they wore merch from them to show their support. The lights went out once again and the still packed venue cheered as the intro track Anthropogenic: End Transmission played over the speakers. The members made their way to the stage with singer Travis Ryan being the last one. Cattle Decapitation stared their show with The Geocide, the opening track to the new album. Right away, Ryan unleashed his ear-piercing shrieks and deep guttural growls that gives Cattle Decapitation their signature sound. The fans went wild once again with moshing and even crowd surfers made an appearance. Cattle Decapitation have a powerful sound live and makes it impossible for anyone in attendance to sit still. Next, Cattle Decapitation went back to their 2012 landmark album Monolith of Inhumanity and performed A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat. For the third song, Cattle Decapitation went back to their previous 2015 album The Anthropocene Extinction and played, The Prophets of Loss. Three songs in and Cattle Decapitation was slaying Los Angeles with pure brutality. One of the best moments from the show was when Ryan dedicated a song to the people in the mosh pit and that song was none other than possibly their most famous song, Forced Gender Reassignment. Next, the intermission track The Great Dying II played which led to Bring Back the Plague which was Death Atlas’ second single. The show seemed to come to an end when Cattle Decapitation played the title track to their new album, Death Atlas. To date, it is their longest song clocking in at nine minutes and fourteen seconds. It is also perhaps their most beautifully written and played song. The first half of the song is a traditional Cattle Decapitation song, but then on the second half slows down to a more doom metal sound with Ryan doing clean vocals that almost give him a Peter Steele (Type-O Negative) vibe. The lyric, “And I count the days till we expire our ways. And I count the days till we expire for always” has to be one of the greatest lines that Cattle Decapitation has ever written and for that, makes it my personal favorite song from the new album. Cattle Decapitation finished the song, then left the stage. The fans didn’t seem ready to go home just yet and stayed put. After a brief break, Cattle Decapitation came back out to play some more. The first encore played was Manufactured Extinct. To end the show, Cattle Decapitation played another one of their best songs, Your Disposal. The fans went wild with moshing and plenty of head banging and horns were seen. The song ended and Cattle Decapitation thanked Los Angeles which they considered to be their home away from home (San Diego, CA), then left the stage for the final time.

 

Cattle Decapitation

 

Atheist

The Hu: Ventura Theater – Ventura, California – 12/4/19

The Hu (pronounced, “The Who”) are a folk metal band from Mongolia. They use traditional Mongolian instruments which include the Morin khuur, Jaw harp, tsuur, and flute. They are also known for traditional throat singing which is one of their main draws. They are still a new band formed in 2016 and on September 13, 2019, released their debut album The Gereg. The Gereg takes its name from the diplomatic passport carried by Mongolian nobles and officials during the 13th century and the time of Genghis Khan. Even though they are new, they have exploded in popularity headlining shows in Europe and playing at major festivals. The Hu announced their very first North American tour and it was a huge success with many of the shows being sold out. One of the last shows of the tour was at the Majestic Ventura Theater in downtown Ventura, California. By the time The Hu was up next, the venue was nicely packed with fans of different ethnicities coming together to witness this amazing band.
The lights went out and the audience cheered as The Hu made their way to the stage. They started their show with Shoog Shoog and the intro got the audience raising their fists and singing along to the lyrics. It’s no secret that the band members are amazing musicians given that they mastered their respective instrument. Different songs required different instruments. The Hu continued the show with The Same followed by The Gereg. One of the first things you’ll notice about the performance is the throat singing. It’s mesmerizing to hear the band using such a different singing style. If you haven’t heard of the band or this throat singing style, then you are seriously missing out. The Hu continued their show by playing many of their hits including The Song of Women, Shireg Shireg, Yuve Yuve Yu, and Wolf Totem. Rather than rely on stage props and theatrics, The Hu uses their powerful singing and music to make their presence known. All it took was the feel of the music for fans to bang their heads and raise their horns. The show seemed to come to an end when The Hu played This Is the Mongol. They left the stage, but fans weren’t ready to go home just yet even on a Wednesday night. After a brief break, The Hu came back out. They had no more new music to play for an encore, so instead they decided to play a song for the second time. The choice for the encore was the single Wolf Totem which has quickly become one of their best and most popular songs. The Hu finished, thanked the audience once again, then left the stage. The Hu have a huge career in front of them and no doubt will only continue to get bigger with time.

 

King Diamond: The Grove – Anaheim, Ca – 12/3/19

Danish heavy metal legend King Diamond announced his first North American tour in four years. Aside from that, he also announced his thirteenth studio album titled The Institute set to be released in 2020. It will be his first album since 2007’s Give Me Your Soul…Please. Plenty of heavy metal maniacs were excited for the King’s return to the USA and either sold out or packed every stop on the tour. Support acts came from Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats and Idle Hands. The second to last stop on the tour was the Grove in Anaheim, California and it was set to be an eventful night.
As King Diamond prepared to go on stage, you couldn’t help but notice the beautiful stage setup with stairs and what looked like an asylum corridor made up most of the stage. There was a sudden change in temperature in the venue as the atmosphere got cold as the lights went out. The packed venue cheered as the asylum door was opened and an asylum nurse came out wheeling KD on a stretcher as if he was a patient. After a little while, KD woke up and walked around in a zombie-like state before being handed his traditional microphone made of bones in the shape of a cross. The rest of the band joined him on stage as they started their show with the popular hit The Candle from their 1986 debut album, Fatal Portrait. Right away, you can hear KD‘s signature falsetto singing style which shows his impressive vocal range. The intro track Funeral played over the speakers as KD had a coffin with the name Abigail written on it. KD opened the coffin to reveal a doll made to look like the character Abigail from his sophomore album of the same name. After talking along with the intro track, KD drove his knife into Abigail and cast her back into the coffin. Afterwards, KD started on another one of their greatest hits Arrival followed by A Mansion in Darkness. Both songs are from the album Abigail which many believe is KD‘s best work and is one of the greatest concept albums in metal. Even though Halloween had come and gone, that didn’t stop KD from playing another one of their biggest tracks, Halloween. What a great song it was and had fans singing along and raising their horns. Another intro track Out From the Asylum from the Them album was played over the speakers as a mysterious old woman in a wheelchair made her way to the stage. KD fans know what was coming next as the band next played another one of their best songs, Welcome Home. This song is often most associated with KD the most as fans love singing along to the line, “Grandmaaaa!”.  The next track was The Invisible Guests, the follow up to Welcome Home. This song has finally found its way back into being played live as it hasn’t been played since 2006. Both songs feature amazing guitar work and solos from guitar god Andy Larocque. Another great hit Sleepless Nights was played before KD called it a night and ended the show with The Lake, a song that hasn’t been performed live since 1986. It was great to see such gems be brought back to life by the King. KD finished up the show, the left the stage. The fans stayed, screamed, and shouted for KD to come back out. After a brief break, KD came back out to play, Burn. To finally end the night, KD played their usual ending song Black Horsemen which also serves as the ending track to the Abigail album. The whole performance was beautiful and it felt so good to have KD return to the states. With a new album on the horizon, it’s no doubt that he will return to grace his American audience once again. Long live the King.

 

Morbid Angel/ Watain: The Observatory – Santa Ana, Ca – 11/27/19

American death metal legends Morbid Angel, Swedish death metal legends Watain, and American death metal legends Incantation announced a tour that was meant for metalheads all across the USA. This is one of those times when death and black metal fans unite to cause chaos and rock out to some of metal’s best bands. Before the start of the tour, Watain was met with some trouble. Guitarist and founding member Pelle Forsberg was arrested and detained coming into the USA from his vacation in Mexico. After being treated unfairly by border patrol for a several days, he was ultimately banned from entering the USA for five years. It was a huge blow to Watain, but they did not back down from the tour. Watain had to adapt for the upcoming tour so bassist Alvaro Lillo switched to guitars and frontman Erik Danielsson switched to bass so it was a rare opportunity to see him on bass duties. Watain also got a hold of a session guitarist to fill in. Regardless of the setback, Watain carried on the tour and it was a brutal tour to witness. The Observatory in Santa Ana, California was all set for this night of brutal metal. Incantation was the first to go up and they were a great warm up setting the stage for the two remaining bands.
The stage was covered in traditional Watain garments which included tridents, logos, and animal bones. The lights went out and the packed venue went into a frenzy as Watain came out one by one with Danielsson being the last one and engaged in a ritual facing away from the audience. Once he finished, he introduced the opening song which is one of the band’s best songs, Sworn to the Dark. Right away, you can feel the evil and satanic music that Watain is known for. The stage was covered in red light most of the time to give the band a hellish look. The next song was Nuclear Alchemy and is the first single from their newest album Trident Wolf Eclipse which was released in 2018. Watain kept the evil atmosphere alive as they played satanic hymns like Reaping Death, Furor Diabolicus, and Malfeitor. With Watain being the support act, it was no surprise to see them have a short set which is a shame because they’re worth a full headlining set. To end their show, Watain performed On Horns Impaled. Once finished, Danielsson proudly held up one of the upside crosses displayed on stage. Who knows when Watain will return to the states, but hopefully it’s soon to give their American fans a proper headlining show.
Morbid Angel are one of the most influential death metal bands. They have been around since 1983 and have consistently released music. their newest release was their ninth studio album Kingdoms Disdained released in 2017. The lights went out once again as the fully packed venue cheered once again as Morbid Angel came out and started their show with Piles of Little Arms. Frontman Steve Tucker unleashed his deep guttural growls which drove the fans insane as they continued to mosh. Guitarist and founding member Trey Azagthoth has to be one of the greatest death metal guitarists as he displayed his unique guitar skills which included fast shredding and squealing. Morbid Angel kept the blasphemy alive as they played lots of their classics including Summoning Redemption, Blasphemy, Prayer of Hatred, and Rapture. Morbid Angel is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to their live performances and people that love to mosh and bang their heads will always have a song to do so. The show seemed to come to an end when they played Nothing Is Not. A powerful song that continued to drive the mosh pits crazy. Morbid Angel said their thanks, then left the stage. Not a bad way to spend Black Wednesday.

 

Morbid Angel

 

Watain

Ensiferum/Kalmah: The Echoplex – Los Angeles, Ca – 11/29/19

Folk metal from Finland made its way to the USA as folk metal band Ensiferum and folk/melodic death metal swamp lords Kalmah returned to their dedicated American fans. Joining them were American black metal band Abigail Williams and American progressive extreme metal band, Aenimus. The majority of fans were there for their favorite folk metal bands. A Black Friday night was perfect for a show like this and it was a night to remember.
The venue was nicely packed as Kalmah prepared to go on stage. The word Kalmah is Karelian and could be translated as “to the death” or “to the grave”. Earlier in the year, Kalmah made their North American debut and sold out many of their shows. Kalmah came out and started their show with Swamphell. Naturally, the crowd finally came alive as moshing and some shoving ensued. It was nice to see Kalmah return to the US so quickly  from their previous tour. There was never a dull moment with Kalmah as lots of smiles were seen. Kalmah played many of their hits including Seventh Swamphony, Moon of My Nights, and The Black Waltz. Kalmah was a super entertaining band to see and they said their farewell to their audience by playing Hades. With luck, Kalmah will return soon to once again to give their American fans more swamp metal.
Ensiferum released their seventh album Two Paths in 2017. Since then, they have been actively touring in support. Their name is Latin meaning “sword bearing”. Plenty of Ensiferum fans were in the audience as they were sporting the band’s merch. The lights went out once again as Ensiferum came out and the crowd cheered. Ensiferum started their show with Blood is the Price of Glory. Ensiferum unleashed their classic folk metal music onto the audience as they moshed away to the music. Ensiferum had come to the USA earlier this year as well and it was great to have them back so soon, but headlining this time. Fans moshed, shoved, and even continued stage diving. Ensiferum is so much fun live and it’s only proven as they played folk metal classics like Token of Time, Heathen Horde, Ahti, and In My Sword I Trust. Ensiferum seemed to end their show with Victory Song which clocks in at almost 11 minutes. Ensiferum left the stage, but the crowd didn’t seem so eager to go home as they stayed put and cheered for the band to come back out. After a small break, Ensiferum came back out and the crowed cheered. The first encore was Hero In a Dream. To finally end the show, Ensiferum played one of their catchiest songs, Lai Lai Hei. Ensiferum thanked the Los Angeles audience for a wonderful night, then left the stage once again. Not a bad way to spend Black Friday.

 

Ensiferum

 

Kalmah

Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Toyota Arena – Ontario, Ca – 11/30/19

Trans-Siberian Orchestra is an arena juggernaut super group formed by four members of progressive metal/hard rock band, Savatage. The band only tours in winter and is so massive that they have a west coast version of the band and an east coast version of the band with two members from Savatage taking control of each version. Bassist Johnny Lee Middleton, drummer Jeff Plate, and guitarists Al Pitrelli and Chris Caffery. Two decades and hundreds of sold-out arena shows later, all four musicians still tour with the band each winter, albeit as members of different touring troupes. Pitrelli and Middleton are the longtime anchors of “TSO West,” while Plate and Caffery are stalwarts of “TSO East.” The band is known for their extensive use of lights, lasers, and pyro that can be seen from space by the International Space Station and makes for one of the most beautiful shows that anyone will ever see. TSO has never needed an opening act so their shows are always 2-3 hours long. This tour was celebrating 21 years that TSO has been touring yearly and in celebration, were performing their debut album Christmas Eve and Other Stories in its entirety . The newly re-named Toyota Arena (formerly Citizens Business Bank Arena) had two shows and with the first show in the after noon packed and possibly sold out, it’s safe to assume that the second show in the evening was also packed.
The lights went out and the packed venue erupted in excitement as the venue’s huge stage setup was beautifully lit up. Phillip Brandon serves as TSO‘s narrator/storyteller and came out to say hello to the audience and introduced the show to the audience. The and came on stage and started the show with the choral piece Who I Am which is a beautiful start to the show. Afterwards, the debut album was started with An Angel Came Down with singer John Brink. The song is beautifully executed just like in the album. The stage was covered in bright lights which is what TSO is known for. After almost every song, Brandon would come back out to continue telling the story to the debut album. TSO is also known for adding theatrics to their shows which includes lots of fire shot in streams to match the music playing looking like a dance. During the performance of First Snow, there was foam dropped from the ceiling to match the effect of snow. One of the most memorable songs performed is TSO‘s most famous song, Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24. The song perfectly combines elements of metal with the spirit of Christmas and is a perfect song for any Christmas situation. TSO continued to play classics from the debut album which included Ornament, Old City Bar, A Mad Russian’s Christmas, and Promises to Keep. The album came to an end with An Angel Returned and the band left the stage. Standing alone center stage was guitarist Al Pitrelli that stayed behind to thank everyone in the audience for coming out and if they were ready to blow more stuff up with the rest of the stage coming to life. The audience, of course, cheered. The band came back out to perform some classic TSO tunes starting with The Storm/The Mountain which also featured a brand new Tesla Coil that also shot out fire. It seems TSO always found ways to wow the audience. Being that TSO was formed by former members of Savatage, it’s no surprise to see them bring out some covers. The first Savatage cover was the popular track, Handful of Rain. TSO also bring out some classical tunes like Beethoven and Mozart blended with a metal twist and of course, lots of lasers and flashing lights. Pitrelli once again too a quick break to introduce all the band members involved. The last one he introduced was co-founding member Paul O’Neill who tragically passed away in 2017. Pitrelli mentioned how a cassette he had never seen before suddenly appeared in his studio. Upon playing it, he realized it had been a never-before-heard acoustic song by O’Neill. In his honor, Pitrelli played the song and named it Can You Hear Me Now. Another one of the highlights of the show was when TSO played a cover of the classic Savatage song, Believe. It was beautifully executed just as the original song. Other TSO classics performed included Wizards In Winter, Christmas Canon Rock, Wish Liszt (Toy Shop Madness) and Requiem (The Fifth). To end the spectacular show, TSO played a reprise version of Christmas Eve and went all out with fireworks, lasers and fire everywhere. A grand ending to one of the biggest stage shows the Earth has ever seen. The whole band came out to bow to the audience, then left. TSO is without a doubt one of the most spectacular bands you’ll ever see live and should be seen by anyone and everyone.

TSO/Chloe Lowery – The Prince of Peace

 

The Aquabats/PPL MVR: Discovery – Ventura, Ca – 11/22/19

Two of the greatest rock bands alive right now The Aquabats and PPL MVR (People Mover) announced a tour together for some true quirkiness and out-of-this-world entertainment. The Aquabats have been around since 1994 and have released five albums with a sixth album set to be released “any day now” according to singer The MC Bat Commander. PPL MVR are an ancient species of unknown origin that explore myth and mystery through guitar riffs and auto tune vocals. They have released two albums with the newest album The Chosen released recently. The second to last stop on the tour was the Discovery bowling alley in Ventura, California. It was Friday night and what better way to spend it than with Yetis and crime-fighting superheroes.
The venue was nicely packed as PPL MVR came out on stage and started their show with Day of the Dead from their self-titled debut album. The members of PPL MVR go by SNWBLL (guitar/vocals), K-PO (bass), Q (drums), and their human Dave Pino (guitar). The music is meant to…move people. Hence their name, PPL MVR. Whether it be dancing, banging your head, or raising your horns. PPL MVR next played Touch & Go, a song from the new album. That song really got the audience moving and singing along. PPL MVR kept moving the audience by playing moving songs like Move, NML (Animal), and Mad. During the performance of The Chosen, SNWBLL went into the audience with a blue marker of some kind and marked the audience on their face who were “Chosen”. In the end, SNWBLL brought a little boy on stage and gave him a special mark on his face and dubbed him the leader of PPL MVR. PPL MVR next played their self-titled song, People Mover. Upon finishing it, PPL MVR played a cover of Where Is My Mind? by The Pixies. SNWBLL once again went into the audience and rocked out on the middle of the floor. PPL MVR thanked the audience for coming out then left the stage.
The lights went out and a movie started to introduce The Aquabats and show their crime-fighting ways. Once the movie ended, the members came out in their traditional masks and matching costumes. The first song performed was The Shark Fighter! and to go with the song, two inflatable sharks were tossed into the audience to be thrown around for the whole song. The band members go by the names of The MC Bat Commander (vocals), Crash McLarson (bass), Jimmy the Robot (keyboards/saxophone), Ricky the Robot (drums), Eagle “Bones” Falconhawk (guitar). The next song is one of their most popular songs, Cat With Two Heads! The Aquabats are best known for their comedic and theatrical shows which includes monsters and villains. The third song performed was Martian Girl! MC Bat Commander noticed a little girl dressed as a martian and brought her up on stage. He asked her where she was from and she said, “outer space”. MC Bat Commander brought the Martian Girl up on stage to dance with the rest of The Aquabats. One of the best songs performed of the night was Pizza Day! and what better way to celebrate the song than to bring out a giant slice of pizza and toss it at the audience. MC Bat Commander brought out a few kids in the audience before one of them finally agreed to be tossed on top of the pizza and…pizza surfed all over the audience. The Aquabats kept up the fun and entertainment by playing fan-favorite songs like Chemical Bomb!, Hey Homies!, and Look at Me, I’m a Winner!. The show seemed to come to an end with Burger Rain! with a video of burgers falling down like rain. The Aquabats left the stage, but the audience wasn’t ready to call it a night just yet. After a short break, The Aquabats came back out for a couple of encores. The first encore was one of their most popular songs, Super Rad! Fans were happy to hear this catchy song and sent some of the audience into a moshing frenzy. To end the night, The Aquabats played another one of their most popular and fun songs, Pool Party! and of course all the kids in the audience were invited on stage to dance and party while the mosh pit continued. The show ended and clearly everyone had a great time. Both The Aquabats and PPL MVR put on super fun shows that will leave you wanting more and anyone looking for a good time should definitely check out both bands.

 

The Aquabats!

 

PPL MVR

Gwar: The Belasco – Los Angeles, Ca – 10/24/19

Scumdogs of the Universe Gwar rose from their frozen barren home in Antarctica to lay waste to human filth. A tour was announced with Sacred Reich, Toxic Holocaust, and Against the Grain. The choice of venue for Gwar to do battle with humans was the Belasco theater in downtown Los Angeles, Ca. Plenty of fans/prey were present ready to declare war on Gwar.
Toxic Holocaust are a thrash metal band from Oregon. On October 4th, 2019, they released their sixth studio album, Primal Future: 2019. Toxic Holocaust came out to the packed venue and started their show with Gravelord. With thrash metal filling the venue, fans started moshing. Toxic Holocaust makes some fast toxic thrash metal music to fill your ears with. Toxic Holocaust continued to drive the fans wild as they played thrash classics like Acid Fuzz, Nuke the Cross, and War Is Hell. Their songs are somewhat short which let them play a lot of songs  even with a short set time. Toxic Holocaust finished their show with The Lord of the Wasteland the left the stage. The show was barely getting started, but already things were getting crazy.
Up next was the thrash metal band, Sacred Reich. They have been around since 1985 and have released five studio albums including their newest album Awakening which released on August 23, 2019. It was their first album since their last album which was released in 1996. Sacred Reich came out and started with Manifest Reality, one of the songs from the newest album. Sacred Reich’s music has always been political so it’s no surprise to see song titles like The American Way, One Nation, and Independent. Fans continued to mosh away to this classic thrash metal band. Sacred Reich brought their show to an end when they played Surf Nicaragua. Sacred Reich said goodbye to the audience, then left the stage for the headlining band of the night.
Gwar released their fourteenth studio album The Blood of Gods in 2017. It is the first album not to feature founding member David Brockie aka Oderus Urungus due to his death in 2014. Even with his death, Gwar lives on with their new singer, Blothar. The stage was set and fans were chanting for Gwar to come out. The lights came out and a news broadcast started on the screen. A police officer with a big obvious prop head came out on stage warning the audience to go home. The members of Gwar came out on stage and started their macabre show with Fuck This Place from the newest album. The officer did battle with Blothar before Blothar eventually took his sword and struck the officer’s head severing it and streams of blood came out which were aimed at the audience. It’s one of the highlights of a Gwar show. Lots of fake blood, space semen, and other otherworldly fluids. The first thing you’ll notice about Gwar is how they’re all dressed up in grotesque costumes which goes with the band’s mythology which portrays the band members as interplanetary warriors. Gwar next played one of their most famous songs, Sick of You. The third song was Krak Down and once again featured a chubby police officer who gets axed in the chest which is then torn off by gwar and continued to spurt blood into the audience. It was madness seeing lots of blood quench the audience and having the members of Gwar fighting other monsters on stage. Gwar continued the massacre by playing blood-spurting tracks like Maggots, Bring Back the Bomb, Death to Dickie Duncan, and Brat You to Death. The final song of the night was Gwar Theme and naturally, there was lots of blood involved, but cannons were brought out this time. Gwar left the stage, but the fans weren’t ready to go home and were still hungry for more. After a brief break, Gwar came back out for an encore. The encore was an AC/DC cover of If You Want Blood (You Got It). This time, Gwar had captured a few humans from Los Angeles and were sacrificed to Gwar’s meat grinder on stage. The show ended and Gwar left Los Angeles in a bloody mess. Fans were seen covered in red liquid, but happy and smiling.

 

Gwar

 

Sacred Reich

 

Toxic Holocaust

Belphegor and Suffocation: 1720 – Los Angeles, Ca – 11/3/19

Austrian blackened death metal band Belphegor and death metal legends Suffocation announced a co-headlining tour to please the metal masses. Two brutal metal bands coming together can only mean there will be lots of banging heads, horns, raised, and loud music. One of the stops on the tour was the 1720 warehouse in Los Angeles, Ca. A Sunday was an odd choice for a metal show, but metalheads still showed up to show loyalty to their beloved metal bands.
Death metal legends Suffocation have been around since 1988. Their eighth studio album …Of the Dark Light was released in 2017. It was the last album to feature original vocalist Frank Mullen. In 2018, Suffocation announced that they would do one final tour with Mullen who had been only touring with Suffocation part time. Now in 2019, Suffocation continues on with vocalist Ricky Myers who fronts the death metal band, Disgorge. Suffocation came out and started with Thrones of Blood. They received praise from their fans as they played their classic death metal music. Suffocation is known for putting on a brutal performance and their fans loved moshing and banging their heads to the music. Suffocation played many of their hits including Clarity Through Deprivation, Cataclysmic Purification, Pierced From Within, and Catatonia. Suffocation never had a dull moment in their performance and the music went perfectly with Myers’ deep guttural vocals that they are known for. Suffocation ended their show with the classic death metal tune, Infecting the Crypts. Fans moshed and raised their horns showing their love and appreciation for these death metal legends who will be around for a long time still.
Belphegor are named after Belphegor, one of the seven princes of Hell. They released their eleventh studio album Totenritual in 2017. Plenty of fans were seen wearing Belphegor‘s merch so you know they were more than ready for them. The stage was covered with Belphegor‘s stage props including real animal bones, wooden upside down crosses and lit candles. Belphegor came out and started their show with Sanctus Diaboli Confidimus. Right away, you’ll notice how the band members dress up for their performance. With white face paint with singer Helmuth going further by adding streaks of blood to his face as if crying blood. The venue was filled with Satanic hymns and death metal growls. Helmuth would continuously make evil faces to give his face paint a more evil and sinister look. Belphegor continued to plague Los Angeles as they played evil tunes like The Devil’s Son, Belphegor- Hell’s Ambassador, Stigma Diabolicum, and Lucifer Incestus. Helmuth took a quick pause to bring up one of his stage prop which was the skull of a goat and held it high above his head making one of his usual grotesque faces. Belphegor‘s lyrics have always been about Satanism, Anti-religion, and War. Belphegor closed out their show with Baphomet, the left the stage. Fans stayed chanting Belphegor‘s name. After a few minutes, Belphegor came back out for an encore. The encore is one of their best songs, Bondage Goat Zombie. Belphegor finished up their set, thanked the audience, then came out to hand out picks, shake hands, and take pictures. It was a great night for metal.

 

Belphegor

 

Suffocation

Delain/Amorphis/Anneke: The Grove – Anaheim, Ca 10/11/19

Another great European metal tour came through the USA. This time, the American audience would be treated to Dutch symphonic metal band Delain, Finnish melodic death metal band Amorphis, and Dutch singer Anneke Van Giersbergen. A great package for all European metal fanatics. One of the later stops on the tour was the Grove in Anaheim, California. Even before doors opened, there was a line of fans waiting to get in. A Friday night seemed perfect for bands of this caliber.
Anneke came out and started with a cover of Ih-Ah originally by Devin Townsend Project. Her show is completely acoustic so the usual heaviness and speed of the songs was completely changed to sound acoustic. Still, it was very calming to hear her absolutely beautiful voice. One of the highlights of the show was hearing her go back to her roots of her days in The Gathering and played a cover of Saturnine. Another one of the hits played was Jolene originally by Dolly Parton. She encouraged the audience to sing along and those that new the song, gladly sang along. Van Giersbergen isn’t usually playing the guitar so it wasn’t uncommon to see her struggling a bit when it came to playing or making sure it sounded just right and would often say her mistakes out loud. Seeing her do her mistakes was actually really cute and she and the audience would laugh together. Van Giersbergen played some really well known songs including Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd) and Like a Stone (Audioslave). Being the opening act, Van Giersbergen had a short set and decided to treat the metalhead audience with a cover of none other than heavy metal legends Iron Maiden by performing a cover of Wasted Years. Playing that intro on acoustic guitar was no easy task, but she managed to pull it off and even the audience joined in on signing along to the chorus. Van Giersbergen finished up her show and left the stage. The show was already off to a great start.
Amorphis came out and started with the opening track from the newest album, The Bee. Amorphis sounded great, just as they do on the album. Up next was one of the best songs on the new album, The Golden Elk. The song is a bit lengthy at just over six minutes, but it’s a perfect six minutes for such a beautiful song. The whole band was very energetic making sure to use the whole stage as their playground rather than stand one the same spot for the whole show. Some of the other hits played included Into Hiding, Wrong Direction, and Heart of the Giant. Amorphis always sounds great live as singer Tomi Joutsen alternates between harsh vocals and clean singing. Joutsen made note on how on the new album, there’s one song that has a special lady on guest vocals. That lady was Anneke Van Giersbergen. Coincidentally, she’s also on tour with the band. Joutsen brought her out to sing Amongst Stars, one of the best songs on the album and one of the most beautiful songs that Amorphis has ever written. The duet singing between Joutsen and Van Giersbergen was absolutely beautiful and perfect. Seeing Amongst Stars being performed was definitely a special moment. To end the performance, Amorphis played House of Sleep. A perfect ending to a great show. Amorphis wrapped up their show and left the stage setup ready for the headlining band of the night.
Delain came out and started with Burning Bridges, a brand new song from the upcoming new album that also has a music video out. The last member to come out was the beautiful and talented, Charlotte Wessels. Fans were seen with smiles as the beloved band that is Delain finally took the stage. The next song was the fan-favorite Suckerpunch from the previous album, Moonbathers. Delain was very energetic on stage with Wessels dancing on stage as well as raising her metal horns and headbanging to her music. Every now and then, cannons would shoot out fog and give the band a beautiful look to go along with their symphonic metal. Wessels sounds just as beautiful live as they do on record. Delain is known for being some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. One of the many times you can see this is in-between songs, Wessels would talk to the audience and members in the audience would reply to her and she would laugh it off or go along with the joke. She would also interact with the children in the audience by shaking their hands and giving them hugs. Delain kept the energy up as they played many of their greatest hits including The Glory and the Scum, Mother Machine, Stardust, and Hands of Gold. Nearing the end of the show, Wessels notices a little boy who was holding up a sign. She wondered if maybe it was a request to play a song. She held the microphone up to the boy and he said, We Are the Others. Wessels agreed that the song would make a perfect closing song for the show. Delain played their best known song We Are the Others and fans were jumping to the song as well as raising their horns. The song is about acceptance of one another without judgement and to be yourself instead of following trends or being told who to be. The song is also inspired by the 2007 murder of Sophie Lancaster who, along with her boyfriend, were murdered by a group of boys simply for being goth and “different”. Delain finished the song, thanked the audience, then left the stage. There were nothing but happy vibes on this tour as it should be. The whole band is nothing but smiles and always put 100% into their performance regardless of attendance numbers.

 

Delain

 

Amorphis

Anneke Van Giersbergen

Cannibal Corpse: Ventura Theater – Ventura, Ca 10/25/19

Death metal legends Cannibal Corpse are currently the biggest death metal band on Earth with over a worldwide sale of over two million albums also making them the top-selling death metal band of all time. In 2017, they released their fourteenth studio album, Red Before Black. In December 2018, lead guitarist Pat O’Brien was arrested for assault and battery. Currently filling on guitar is Erik Rutan who used to play in Morbid Angel and currently fronts the death metal band, Hate Eternal. Cannibal Corpse is fresh of a tour supporting Slayer on their final world tour and have now announced their own headlining tour with support from Thy Art Is Murder and Perdition Temple. One of the early stops on the tour was the old Majestic Ventura Theatre in downtown Ventura, California.
The lights went out and the crowd went into a frenzy as the death metal legends came on stage. Cannibal Corpse started their show with Code of the Slashers from their newest album, Red Before Black. The crowd went absolutely wild with brutal mosh pits. Fans were most likely hurt one way or another and they did it all in the name of metal. Two more songs from the new album Only One Will Die and Red Before Black were played and were just as brutal. One of the main highlights of the show is watching vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher head spin with his gigantic neck and is one of the most entertaining sights in metal. Cannibal Corpse continued to brutalize Ventura as they played classics such as Scourge of Iron, Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead, The Wretched Spawn, and A Skull Full of Maggots. Such disgusting song titles that are often brought up in controversies, but still awesome! Fisher announced this next song as a love song and that it was about “shooting blood from your cock!”. The fans cheered knowing what was coming next as Fisher belted out, “I…Cum…Blooood!” and so Cannibal Corpse played one of their most popular hits I Cum Blood which once again drove the fans wild and kept the mosh pits brutal. Another brutal song was played which was Make Them Suffer before Cannibal Corpse announced one more song of the night and if the fans wanted more, they would have to scream as loud as possible. The fans screamed, but Fisher was utterly disappointed by it considering how packed the venue was. He gave them one more chance and demanded for the audience to not fail him. The crowd cheered even louder the second time. Fisher said after hearing their pleas and after considering it…it was still the last song! HA! Then continued on to call himself a heartbreaker. Cannibal Corpse finished their show with Stripped, Raped, and Strangled which one of the most brutal songs played that night. Cannibal Corpse finished the song and stayed on stage as Fisher surprised the audience with just one more song. He screamed into the mic, “Hammer…Smashed…Faaaace!”. It seems the audience got their one last song and it was one of the most popular and brutal songs in metal, Hammer Smashed Face. It is recognizable by its intro and bass solo by legendary metal bassist Alex Webster. The fans went berserk with crowd surfers showing up and a mosh pit so brutal, it hurt just by watching it. Cannibal Corpse finished up the show and left. A perfect way to spend Friday night.

 

Mushroomhead: Whisky a Go Go – Hollywood, Ca – 10/20/19

Mushroomhead has a lot of history in the metal music community. If you listened to nu-metal/alternative metal in the late 90’s and/or listened to bands like Slipknot, then you know Mushroomhead. They have been around since the early 90’s and have been regularly releasing music. Their latest release was The Righteous & the Butterfly in 2014 with a new album currently in the works for a possible release in April 2020. Mushroomhead has had many lineup changes with founding members and drummer Steve “Skinny” Felton. The latest members to leave the band were vocalists Waylon Reavis in 2015 and founding member/vocalist Jeffery “Nothing” Hatrix in 2018.  Mushroomhead announced a Halloween tour and one of the stops was at the world-famous Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood, California.
As Mushroomhead prepared to go on stage, the floor was kind of empty. After enduring five opening bands, it was finally time for Mushroomhead to take the stage. The floor had finally filled up to a decent amount by the time Mushroomhead hit the stage. They started the show with 43. The first hing you’ll notice is how the band members wear masks. Normally they wear different-looking masks, but it seems this year they’ve chosen to wear what look like identical masks. The other thing you’ll notice is how there are four drums, two on each side of the stage. On certain songs, members Roberto Diablo and Rick “Stitch” Thomas would play those drums, but the drums would have water coming out of them making for some impressive stage display and is often one of the highlights of the show. The next song was one of their popular songs Kill Tomorrow which is the opening track from their 2003 album, XIII. The third song was another one of their most popular songs Bwomp which is an old school song and has more of their classic electro-industrial sound. The next song was the first single from their latest album, Qwerty. Mushroomhead is known for their energetic shows and for having a strong and dedicated fanbase. Fans were seen wearing their merch and even wearing masks from the past showing that they’ve been fans for a long time. Mushroomhead went on to play more hits like Sun Doesn’t Rise, Nowhere to Go, and Solitaire/Unraveling. During the performance of We are the Truth, Mushroomhead was joined by Jackie LaPonza who is the vocalist for Unsaid Fate who regularly tours with Mushroomhead and is also the girlfriend of Skinny. Nearing the end of the show, Mushroomhead played a cover of Pink Floyd‘s Empty Spaces followed by their usual closing song, Born of Desire. The show ended and fans cheered for their beloved band and hugged one another talking about how awesome of a show it was. The floor and fans were wet from the water drums, but nothing but smiles were seen.

 

UFO/Armored Saint: The Grove – Anaheim, Ca – 10/10/19

Two rock/metal legends UFO and Armored Saint announced a short tour. UFO was on tour as a part of their 50th anniversary tour. The tour would also serve as vocalist Phil Mogg’s final tour with the band. Whether the band will retire after that or continue with a replacement remains to be seen. UFO suffered a loss in the band when longtime keyboardist/guitarist Paul Raymond passed away on April 13. His replacement for the remainder of the tour would be Neil Carter who was also in UFO in the early 1980’s. One of the stops on the tour was the Grove in Anaheim, California. The show was such a huge demand that it ended up selling out weeks before the show was set to take place. Even before doors opened, there was a huge line of fans waiting to get in.
Starting the show was Los Angeles heavy metal band, Armored Saint. Armored Saint has a long history in the music as they have consistently put out music and made history of their own. Plenty of longtime fans were in attendance as they wore Armored Saint merch. Armored Saint came out and started the show with the fan-favorite Reign of Fire from their 1991 album, Symbol of Salvation. The already packed venue welcomed one of SoCal’s favorite metal bands as they cheered for them. The next song was another favorite Can U Deliver from their 1984 debut album, March of the Saint. Armored Saint was on fire as all the members were active on stage never just standing around. Whether it’s the dual shredding by Phil Sandoval and Jeff Duncan or the pounding of the drums by Gonzo Sandoval, Armored Saint has never sounded better in their career. Armored Saint Played more hits like Last Train Home, Seducer, and Left Hook From Right Field. Nearing the end of the show, vocalist John Bush talked about how bands have to keep making good music throughout their career and not dwell in the past. He used an example from their last release Win Hands Down from 2015 and played the title track, Win Hands Down. To end the show, Armored Saint played their most popular hit, March of the Saint. A  classic track in heavy metal history and Armored Saint played it to perfection with many fans singing along, raising their horns, and headbanging. A great show overall and the show was only half finished.
UFO is one of the most influential bands of all time with many of the great metal bands from the 1970’s and 1980’s citing them as an influence. The lights went out once again and the sold out venue cheered with anticipation as the members of UFO made their way to the stage and started with Mother Mary. UFO still puts on a great show as age has not slowed them down. UFO next played a classic track, We Belong to the Night. Fans loved singing along and showing their respects to UFO as this cold very well be the last time they would get to see UFO. UFO continued to play hit after hit like Lights Out, Only You Can Rock Me, and Too Hot to Handle. Nearing the end of the show, Mogg thanked the audience for coming out as well as supporting UFO throughout the years. To end the show, UFO played one of their most popular hits, Rock Bottom. The fans went wild as they sang along and cheered. UFO finished the show and left the stage. The fans weren’t so eager to leave the stage and stayed put and cheered. After a short break, UFO came back out for some encores. The first encore was perhaps their most famous song, Doctor Doctor. The song is also famously played by heavy metal legends Iron Maiden right as they’re about to start their show. UFO‘s classic music still sounds good live and will surely continue to influence bands years from now. To end the night, UFO played Shoot Shoot. The show came to an end and the fans continued to cheer as UFO bowed to their sold out audience, then left the stage for the final time.

 

UFO

 

Armored Saint

Dragonforce: Ventura Theater – Ventura, Ca – 10/12/19

British power metal band Dragonforce released their eighth studio album Extreme Power Metal on September 27, 2019. They are best known for their incredibly fast guitar solos which often sound like soundtracks for a video game. They rose to fame when they released their most famous song Through the Fire and Flames on the popular video game, Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock. Dragonforce has recently had a couple of lineup changes starting with longtime keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov who left Dragonforce in 2018. In August, longtime bassist Frédéric Leclercq left Dragonforce to join German thrash metal band, Kreator. YouTube start Stevie T was to join Dragonforce as their bassist, but had to back out due to personal problems. As a last minute addition, Dragonforce brought Once Human bassist Damien Rainaud, who also produced and mixed Extreme Power Metal. Dragonforce announced a short tour and would conclude at the MegaCruise. The final stop on the tour was the Majestic Ventura Theater in downtown Ventura, California. Opening acts Darwen’s Theory, Starkill, and Dance With the Dead warmed up the slightly packed venue.
One of the first things you’ll notice is how on the stage, there are two giant arcade machines playing clips of classic arcade games like Metal Slug, Street Fighter, and Altered Beast.
The lights went out and the venue chanted Dragonforce‘s name. Lasers lit up the stage with smoke and gave the lasers an even more beautiful sight. The band members came out one by one with vocalist Marc Hudson being the last one to come out singing the intro to the opening song Highway to Oblivion which is also the first track on the new album and the crowd was met with a shot of confetti from the cannons up front. Dragonforce was on fire from the start as guitarists/founding members Herman Li and Sam Totman viciously shred through solos in perfect harmony along with Hudson’s high-pitch vocals. The next song was the classic Fury of the Storm and this time, the audience was met with fog from fog cannons. Dragonforce had several toys to play with on stage and the first one brought out was Hudson using a gun that shot out fog in a red light made to look like a laser. For the next song, Dragonforce made note on how they loved video games and this next song was based on The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and was also a song from the new album. The song was called The Last Dragonborn and fans of the video game could surely relate. Dragonforce is known for having some lengthy songs so it wasn’t unusual for some of their songs to be over seven minutes long. One of the funnest moments of the show was when Hudson let the audience know that there was an audience member who was having his bachelor party at the show. Hudson brought him onstage and let him know that it was in fact a terrible decision to have his bachelor party at a Dragonforce show. Regardless, Hudson was determined to give him a good time. The bachelor was sat on a stool while an extremely beautiful stripper girl came out to give the bachelor a little dance. She then blindfolded the bachelor and left the stage. Hudson signaled over a large stage worker man who came over to the bachelor and started dancing on him, removed his shirt, and even massaged the bachelor. He then left and the woman came back to remove the blindfold, unbeknownst to the bachelor of what had just happened to him. Back to the performance, Dragonforce played another new song, Heart Demolition. Dragonforce took a quick break while Hudson grabbed a guitar and played a medley of classic video game music followed by drummer Gee Anzalone showing his skills with a drum solo. Dragonforce came back out and continued the show with Black Fire, Razorblade Meltdown, Cry Thunder, and Remembrance Day. To end the show, Dragonforce played the fan-favorite Valley of the Damned from their debut album of the same name, then left the stage. After a small break, Hudson came back out to thank the audience for coming out and spending the last stop of the tour with them. The rest of Dragonforce came back out for some encores. The first encore is the ending track to the new album and is a very interesting cover song. Hudson asked the audience if they had ever seen the movie, Titanic. The audience cheered and Dragonforce asked for a Celine Dion pit for the cover of My Heart Will Go On. A different take on it, but Dragonforce‘s twist on it made it work perfectly. To end the night, Dragonforce played their most famous song Through the Fire and Flames and the audience loved moshing to the song. The show came to an end and Dragonforce was joined on stage by all the opening bands as they celebrated for a tour finale. Dragonforce will always be welcomed in Ventura County.

 

Obituary/Abbath/Midnight: The Observatory – Santa Ana, Ca – 10/4/19

Another amazing metal tour made its way to the USA. This time, America would be blessed with Devil Master, Midnight, Abbath, and Obituary crushing venues in their path. This time, the Observatory in Santa Ana would be the battlegrounds for metalheads coming from the surrounding cities to witness this brutal lineup that was not to be missed. To no surprise, the show sold out and packed to the brim for this wild and unforgettable night.
Devil Master served as a nice start to the show, but things didn’t get wild until black rock ‘n’ roll/thrash metal band Midnight took the stage. Midnight recently signed with the legendary Metal Blade Records label and released their single, Rebirth By Blasphemy along with an instrumental track, Afterbirth. Midnight is currently working on a new album, their first with MBR and will hopefully be released sometime next year. The hooded figures in Midnight came out and started with Penetratal Ecstasy. Without wasting any time, the already packed audience went crazy and formed a mosh pit. The next song was another thrashy metal song, Poison Trash. By this time, the fans took advantage of there not being a barricade from the stage and started storming the stage and for the rest of the performance, stage divers and crowd surfers constantly made appearances. There’s never a calm or quiet moment at a Midnight show and such facts are proven as they laid waste to the audience by playing songs like Evil Like a Knife, You Can’t Stop Steel, Black Rock’n’Roll, and Satanic Royalty. The show had to come to an end eventually and Midnight chose Unholy and Rotten for the show’s closer. Fans continued to mosh and stage dive which is always expected at a Midnight show. Barely two bands in and still the show was just getting started.
Abbath is the solo band of Norwegian black metal legend Olve “Abbath” Eikemo. He is best known for founding the Norwegian black metal band Immortal in 1991. Abbath left Immortal in 2015 and started his solo band that same year and released their self-titled debut album in 2016. In 2019, they released their second album Outstrider and have been touring ever since. Plenty of Abbath/Immortal fans were seen in attendance and couldn’t wait to see their favorite black metal musician. The stage had a huge silver Abbath logo showing who was next to play. Abbath came out and started with Count the Dead from their debut album. Abbath unleashed his legendary black metal vocals onto the audience and they quickly went crazy with mosh pits. Abbath went on to play two new songs which were Bridge of Spams, The Artifex, and Harvest Pyre. Abbath can’t forget the legacy he had with Immortal so what better way to treat the audience with some Immortal covers. The first cover was In My Kingdom Cold followed by Tyrants. Abbath was ferocious during the whole set never letting there be a dull moment. After a few more tracks, Abbath had to call it a night by playing To War! from his debut album. Abbath finished up the show and thanked the audience by doing his infamous crab walk from one end of the stage to the other giving everyone high fives. Only the headlining act of the night was left.
Obituary is no doubt one of the greatest death metal bands of all time. On this tour, they’re celebrating 35 years since the release of their debut album, Slowly We Rot. The venue was packed to the max, especially the pit area where fans were surely hungry to mosh. The lights went out once again and the sold out crowd cheered as the members of Obituary came out one by one. All the members of Obituary were present minus singer John Tardy. The members on stage played a simple instrumental death metal intro to warm up the crowd and even with that, fans were moshing. Tardy eventually came out and Obituary finally started with Redneck Stomp. The entire floor area came to life as everyone shoved and moshed to one of death metal’s greatest bands. It almost hurt to watch everyone smash against each other. Obituary would continue the onslaught as they played brutal tracks like Chopped in Half, Dying, Internal Bleeding, and Suffocation. Obituary is a brutal band live and was only matched by the audience themselves as fans continued to crush each other and stage dive. Bodies were everywhere. The show seemed to come to an end when Obituary played Intoxication. Obituary left the stage, but the audience still seemed hungry for more. After cheering and chanting the band’s name, Obituary came back out for some encores. The first encore was A Dying World. To properly end the show, Obituary made note on how they were celebrating the 35th anniversary of their debut album and the finale of the show is the title track from that album, Slowly We Rot. The entire floor came alive once again as the most brutal mosh pit of the night formed with bodies going in every direction and stage divers everywhere. It was easily one of the best tours of the year with a metal package like this. 

 

Obituary

 

Abbath

 

Midnight

Lacuna Coil: The Regent – Los Angeles, Ca – 10/1/19

Lacuna Coil is a Gothic metal band from Italy. In 2016, they released their eighth studio album, Delirium. Their ninth studio album Black Anima will be released on October 11th. Lacuna Coil is currently on a co-headlining tour with metalcore giants, All That Remains. The tour also includes Bad Omens, Toothgrinder, and Uncured. This proved to be a worthy package of bands for metalheads. It’s no surprise to see a lot of people were mainly there for Lacuna Coil judging by people’s conversations and merch they were wearing. Regardless, people were there to have fun and a Friday night in Los Angeles is always fun.
The venue was nicely packed as Lacuna Coil prepared to take the stage. The lights went out and the venue cheered as the members of Lacuna Coil came out and stated the show with Blood, Tears, Dust from their Delirium album. Vocalist Andrea Ferro would handle the male vocals of the music while the absolutely beautiful Cristina Scabbia handles the female vocals. The whole band was on point playing their music as it gave you a rush of adrenaline and you couldn’t help but scream and sing along to the catchy music. The next song was Trip the Darkness, another one of their best songs. The fans were seen with nothing but smiles as there’s always nothing but good vibes whenever Lacuna Coil plays. The third song was the band’s most popular song, Our Truth. The band was very energetic and sounded so good live, it’s a shame they’re not bigger than they already are. Lacuna Coil kept playing all the hits as they beautifully performed classic like Zombies, Downfall, My Demons, and The House of Shame. Scabbia took a quick break to talk to the audience on how they are loving the crowd and the whole tour and of course thankful for all their tour mates in the other bands. Scabbia also made note on how with them having limited time on stage also meant having a smaller setlist. For the next song, Lacuna Coil would let the fans decide between two songs. The song choices were Swamped or Heaven’s a Lie. Heaven’s a Lie got the stronger response so Lacuna Coil went on to play that. Nearing the end of the show, Lacuna Coil next played a brand new song from the upcoming new album titled, Reckless. Scabbia took another quick break to address the audience giving a positive speech to the crowd on how it’s ok to be different and to love themselves. To end the show, Lacuna Coil played Nothing Stands in Our Way. The band went all out with this performance being one of the best live songs played on their set. Lacuna Coil finished up their set and their fans showed nothing but love for them as they cheered for them. One can only hope that Lacuna Coil comes back for a proper headline tour in the USA.

 

Voivod/Revocation: El Rey – Los Angeles, Ca – 9/28/19

Metal bands Voivod and Revocation announced a co-headlining tour and brought with them a stacked variety of metal with them which included Cryptopsy, Skeletal Remains and Conjurer (UK). Both Voivod and Revocation were promoting their most recent album releases so it only made sense to tour together and bring metalheads from different genres together. One of the many stops on the tour was the El Rey theater in Los Angeles and it was a great way to spend your Saturday night.
Voivod are heavy metal legends from Canada and released their fourteenth studio album The Wake in 2018. With fourteen studio albums, you know Voivod has a lot of history in the metal books and have released a variety of music ranging from heavy metal, to speed metal and thrash metal. A variety of sound for depending on your mood.  Voivod came out and started the show with Post Society. The heavy metal legends unleashed their spacey metal music onto the audience as they cheered and moshed. For the second song, Snake welcomed the audience to their UFO as they next played a fan favorite, Psychic Vacuum. Being a super catchy song, fans were seen raising their horns and singing along as well as keeping the mosh pits alive. Snake made sure the audience knew that they had a new album and for the next song, played the title track of the album titled Obsolete Beings. After a few more songs, Snake had to stop and let the audience know that this next song was from 1987 and told the audience how he remembers back in the day, metalheads would stage dive and crowd surf and was wondering if such a thing still existed. Apparently it was up to the fans to show him. The next song was Overreaction and the fans did Voivod proud by moshing for the whole song and even a few crowd surfers and a single stage divers that was able to get away with it. Nearing the end of the show, Snake mentioned how it was the end of Summer and it was now…Fall, which was also the name of the next song. To end the show, a special instrument was brought out. Guitarist Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain brought out the guitar of the late Denis “Piggy” D’Amour which is the last guitar he played back in Ozzfest 2003 for his final show before sadly passing away. It was a great way to honor his memory. The final song of the night was one of Voivod‘s best songs which is simply titled…Voivod. A simple name, but very effective. A thrash metal song that drove the audience wild with moshing and crowd surfing. A great performance by these heavy metal legends. Voivod finished the song, thanked the audience, then left the stage for the headlining band of the tour.
Revocation is a technical death metal band from Boston, Massachusetts. In 2018, they released their seventh studio album, The Outer Ones. To mark the one-year anniversary of the album’s release, Revocation chose to play the album in its entirety. The lights went out once again as the members of Revocation made their way to the stage and started the show with the first track from the newest album, Of Unworldly Origin. Right away, you could hear how Revocation brings their tech-death metal sound to life. Guitarist/vocalist David Davidson played his 7-string guitar to precision as heard on the album itself. The death metal music made the audience go wild as mosh pits happened throughout the performance. The next song was the next song on the album, That Which Consumes All Things followed by Blood Atonement. Aside from the music, Revocation‘s performance was accompanied by an impressive light show made different for each song so you feel almost as if you’re in space yourself. Davidson took a small break to let the fans know about how this show marked exactly one year since the album’s release and hoped the audience was enjoying the album being played in full. Revocation continued to play songs from the album Vanitas, The Outer Ones and even a song about Satan, Luciferous. The album’s finale was A Starless Darkness, a beautifully long ending at 7 minutes and 15 seconds. Instead of ending the show, Davidson asked the audience if they wanted one more song. The audience naturally cheered and so Revocation treated the fans to an old school song Dismantle the Dictator from their 2009 sophomore album, Existence is Futile. Revocation finished up their powerful performance and left the stage. Fans were satisfied with the whole tour and proved why more tours like this should happen more often.

 

Revocation

 

Voivod

Eluveitie/Korpiklaani: The Regent – Los Angeles, Ca – 9/27/19

Folk metal giants Eluveitie (El-vay-ti) and Korpiklaani (Finnish: The Backwoods Clan) embarked on a co-headlining tour across North America to please their legions of folk metal fanatics. One of the early stops on the tour was the Regent in downtown Los Angeles. Even before doors opened, plenty of fans were waiting in anticipation for two of folk metal’s most popular bands.
Korpiklaani is a folk metal band from Finland. In 2018, they released their tenth studio album, Kulkija (“The Wanderer”). Their songs are a mix of English songs and Finnish. As they prepared to go on stage, you could see the stage was setup with a backdrop matching their album cover and fences set throughout the stage giving the band a traditional folk feel. The lights went out and the packed venue cheered as the members of Korpiklaani made their way to the stage. They started the show with Hunting Song. Right away, you could feel their folk metal sound as they perfectly blended metal with traditional instruments, a violin and accordion. Their music just wants to make you get up and dance and is full of energy. The next song was Sahti (“Moonshine”) from their previous 2015 album, Noita (“Witch”). Once again, the music drove fans to jump and mosh in traditional metal style. The third song was one of Korpiklaani‘s many songs about drinking, The Land of A Thousand Drinks. Korpiklaani is always a fun band to see live as it’s almost a crime to not drink and/or get drunk at their shows since a lot of their songs are abut drinking and alcohol. All the band members were energetic with not a dull moment during their performance and made sure the audience had lots of fun at their show. Korpiklaani kept up the dancing and drinking as they played classics like Happy Little Boozer, Let’s Drink, Lempo (“Darn”) and Wooden Pints. Nearing their end of the show, Korpiklaani decided to treat the fans to a song called…Beer Beer. What a surprise. Regardless, fans danced and moshed to this super fun folk metal band. To end the night, vocalist Jonne Järvelä told the audience how since they had beer, now they needed…Vodka! And so Korpiklaani finished their show with their most popular song, Vodka. The song is in English so it’s super easy and fun to sing along to. Korpiklaani wrapped up their show and left the stage. So much fun, yet the main band of the tour was still waiting to come on.
Eluveitie is a folk metal band from Switzerland. On April 5th, 2019, they released their eighth studio album titled, Ategnatos. This is the first US tour featuring the band’s major lineup change from 2016 and their first US tour since their previous one in 2015. A lot of Eluveitie‘s songs are written and sung in the ancient extinct language, Gaulish. Their lyrics include references to Celtic mythology. They also use traditional European instruments like the hurdy-gurdy, bagpipes, flutes, and whistles.  The lights went out once again and the almost full venue cheered once again as the members of Eluveitie made their way to the stage with singer Chrigel Glanzmann being the last one out. They started the show with the title track of the new album, Ategnatos. Glanzmann unleashed his folk metal growls onto the audience and drove them wild as they continued to mosh to the music. The next song was King from their 2014 album, Origins. Joining Glanzmann on vocals is newcomer Fabienne Erni who provides the female vocals of the band as well as plays the celtic harp. For the third song, Glanzmann asked the audience if they wanted the English version of the song for The Call of the Mountains or the Swiss German version titled, De Ruef vo de Bärge. Naturally, European metal fanatics prefer the non-English version of a song. The song was executed beautifully with Erni singing the whole song in Swiss German. Eluveitie next played another brand new song Deathwalker followed by a fan favorite, Quoth the Raven. Glanzmann took a quick break from the show let the audience know that it has been a long time since they last came and how good it feels to be back and was happy and appreciative seeing all the fans that came out to spend their Friday with Eluveitie. One of the most beautiful songs performed was A Rose For Epona. Erni was again shined with her angelic voice where everyone just stayed still and watched in awe. The next song was Thousandfold and was another fan favorite. Fans loved singing along, moshing and even crowd surfing. So much energy given off by Eluveitie, yet you can’t help but let the music take over you. To more great songs Ambiramus and Havoc were performed to perfection. Nearing the end of the show, Eluveitie performed another new song Breathe. To end the show, the song Helvetios was performed which is one of their best songs. Eluveitie left the stage, but the crowd wasn’t eager to go home just yet as they stayed put and cheered some more. After a short break, Eluvetie came back out for some encores. The first encore was Rebirth, the first single from the new album. To end the night, Eluveitie performed their most famous song, Inis Mona. The crowd went absolutely wild as the biggest mosh pit of the night formed. Eluveitie finished their set, thanked the audience once again for an amazing night, then left the stage. It was a great night for folk metal and hopefully it’s not long before Eluveitie and Korpiklaani return.

 

Eluveitie

 

Korpiklaani

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